Pregnancy Update

Here it is–6 months into my pregnancy–and I’ve barely documented any of it!! It just goes to show how different it is the third time around!! Honestly, most days I am so busy running around with the girls that I don’t even think about being pregnant; that is until the end of the day when I collapse on the couch, totally exhausted!!

The collage of pictures are ALL the pictures I have taken during this pregnancy. I know; pathetic!! And none of them have even been with a “real” camera!! The first picture is from the start of my “bump”-at 14 weeks, and the bottom right picture was taken this week-at 26 weeks. I honestly cannot believe that the baby is due in just 14 short weeks. With Leah (and a little with Claire) I was counting down the weeks until the baby would be born, but with this one I am taking the pregnancy one day at a time, since I know my life is going to get 5x crazier once this third kid makes his/her arrival!!

unnamedultra

At the end of January I had my 20 week ultra sound. We went into the ultra sound with the decision NOT to find out the gender, and we were (somewhat surprisingly) able to stick with our decision! This is our first time going the “surprise route” and I honestly thought the not knowing would bother me a lot more than it actually does. The idea came to me back when we were trying to get pregnant and month after month I was praying (begging?) God to get pregnant and to bless us with a healthy baby. It really hit me during that time that I never, ever thought about whether I was hoping and praying for one gender over the other, I simply wanted whatever baby God blessed us with. So, once we finally got pregnant, I decided (and so did Brett!) to continue my prayers of gratitude for this baby, this beautiful, wonderful baby that God blessed us with, without any thought or pressure on what the baby’s gender is. And it really has been reassuring and somehow completely peaceful, to pray for this special child, without a care in the world about whether baby is a boy or a girl.

That being said, obviously I am SO excited to find out who this sweet baby is come June! The girls change their minds daily on whether they think baby is a brother or a sister. Currently they are both saying sister, but I think Claire’s opinion may just be an echo of her big sister’s. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Leah has been such a sweet big sister already, hugging my belly and talking to the baby and giving us name suggestions. She is not really into any boy names (no surprise there!) but her current favorite girl names are Margaret (after Daniel Tiger’s little sister of course!), Stella, and Velvet. It’s been very sweet, seeing her be so involved with this pregnancy!

As for how I’m feeling, it’s been very different from my first 2 pregnancies, but I think it’s because a lot has changed since my last 2 pregnancies. This is my first pregnancy as a stay at home mom, and although I initially wondered if that would make it easier, I have quickly realized that is not the case. Brett also now has a job that requires a LOT of travel, which means that I may go a week at a time solo parenting, which has only added to my exhaustion. Besides that, however, I am feeling really great!! I am still hitting the gym 3-4 times a week and am sleeping comfortably. I definitely sleep a lot on my back (I know, I know, a big pregnancy no no!) but it hasn’t proved to be too uncomfortable yet and I haven’t started needing to get up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom, so I’ve still gotten pretty good nights sleep. (Well, as long as my other 2 children allow it, of course!)

As for weight gain, I seem to be right on track to gain the same amount as I did with my earlier 2 pregnancies. I don’t gain any weight my first trimester, and by 20 weeks I was only up 3 lbs. However, I know from experience, that my body has an uncanny ability to catch up, so I had to laugh out loud when I went back in for my 24 week appointment and I had gained 10 LBS in ONE MONTH! Like I said……I know how to make up for lost time. ๐Ÿ˜› Now, 2 weeks later, I am up another 2-3 lbs for a grand total of a 15-16 lb weight gain. With the girls I was up 33 lbs by the end and I have a feeling I will be right on track with this one as well.

This belly is definitely a lot bigger than the girls and it is so high! Baby was still breech at 20 weeks (where as the girls were both head down by then) so I am not sure if that is making a difference with how high the belly seems to be. Baby was right on track growth wise at 20 weeks and all looked great. The only “concern” was a bit of fluid that was backed up in the baby’s kidneys at the time of the ultra sound. My OB reassured me that it is VERY common at that stage in the pregnancy and I will have a follow up ultra sound when I go in for my glucose test in 2 weeks, just to monitor baby’s kidneys and make sure the fluid back up hasn’t gotten any worse.

So there it is!! The first pregnancy update at 6 months along!! ๐Ÿ™‚ Aches, exhaustion and all, I seriously love being pregnant and I am enjoying every, single minute of carrying this child!!

The story of baby number 3

ultrasound

Since getting married (and probably well before that!) Brett and I always knew we wanted “at least” three kids. We have always joked “Definitely three, but we’ll have to see how the third one is before committing to a fourth.” ๐Ÿ˜‰ So when Claire was around 18 months, we started the whole “pre-baby planning schedule” that we did with Leah, 2 years earlier. I started weaning Claire and was officially done nursing by 19 months. I researched and then scheduled an appointment with a new OB (both because I was way overdue for an annual exam and because I didn’t yet have an OB here in Asheville) and got a clean bill of health-my uterus was ready for a baby! For those of you who have been reading my blog for quite some time, you may remember that I was diagnosed with PCOS in my early 20’s and was told-by more thanย  one OB/GYN-that getting pregnant may prove difficult. But with Leah it only took 2 months of trying and with Claire we got pregnant right away, so I was feeling pretty confident that this one would just follow suit with the others!

Brett and I started trying to get pregnant in May and I was feeling optimistic that it would happen right away. I was healthy, I felt great, and my cycles had been normal for months. May ended…with a negative pregnancy test. I was obviously disappointed, but was trying not to feel too upset, as we had just started trying. Then came June…with another negative test, and July….negative. By this time I was starting to get a little worried. I know for many, many women, 3 months seems like no time at all, but for me, with my other 2 pregnancies happening so quickly, I felt like something was “off.” I scheduled another appointment with my OB to have a more thorough “check,” mainly to give me some peace of mind. In the back of my mind I just kept thinking about that PCOS diagnosis and how maybe we just got lucky those first two times!

At my OB appointment I had an ultra sound and it was discovered that I was only “partially ovulating,” something that before then I didn’t know was possible! Apparently, even though I felt like I was ovulating, and was still getting regular periods, my follicles were not growing to “full maturity” and were much smaller than what was needed to maintain a healthy pregnancy. Thankfully, she told me, it was an “easy fix.” A super low dose of Chlomid should be all I needed to kick start my body into “full ovulation.”

With renewed optimism, I started my first round of Chlomid that month (thankfully my appointment was at the perfect time to start a round!) and a week later when I came in for an ultra sound, I was told I had a large, healthy follicle all ready and waiting! I went home so excited and sure that it would happen that month, but then, 2 weeks later, came a negative test.

So there we were, now September, when I went back in for round two of Chlomid. After a week on the meds I went in for an ultra sound and saw two healthy follicles, ready to go! My doctor jokingly warned me that if we definitely did not want multiples I should go ahead and skip this cycle. But I knew that there was NO way I was letting a cycle go by without trying! Besides, although going from 2-4 kids would be a lot, Brett and I have always been under the impression that God will give us the child/children we are meant to have so hey, if it ended up being twins we would just be doubly excited! I was mostly feeling optimistic that having two follicles meant doubling my chances of getting pregnant and I was hoping this would be the month!

For anyone who has been pregnant, or has tried to get pregnant, knows, that 2 week wait is the WORST! I had promised myself (and my OB) that I would NOT test early so I was waiting until the day my period was due to take the pregnancy test. By the end of that 2 week wait I had 100% convinced myself that I was not pregnant. I was feeling gross and crampy and exactly how I usually felt right before I got my period.

The morning of “test day” (October 7th!) came and I woke up at 6 am, unable to sleep any longer. I snuck out of bed and immediately went into the bathroom to test. Because this was our 5th month testing, I had bought a bunch of those cheap “dip strip” tests off of Amazon and so, when I saw that it was positive I didn’t know whether to believe it or not!! I ran into our room, yelling Brett’s name (and basically giving him a heart attack) and crying, not even believing that I was finally seeing a positive test.
preggersobviously I had to take a picture of it right away!!

Since I didn’t trust the test (and basically just wanted insurance that it was right!), I immediately got dressed and raced out to CVS to buy another test. It was so funny because when I put the pregnancy test up on the counter (unable to hide my giddy, probably a bit insane, grin), the woman at the register told me that I was the 4th woman to buy a pregnancy test that morning and it wasn’t even 8 am!! Must have been a popular baby testing day!!

I rushed back home, chugged a glass of water, took the test and was ecstatic when a big fat positive appeared.
preggers2

I know so many friends who have chosen to not share the news with their kids (who are old enough to understand) until they are far enough along that they are out of the “risk of miscarry stage” and when it’s safe for their kids to be blabbing the news to their teacher at school, but I just couldn’t wait to share the news with Leah! She was so, so excited and kept asking about the “baby in my tummy” and whether I thought it was a girl or a boy. Thankfully she is also a quiet, introverted kid, so I knew she wouldn’t be blabbing the news at school (and she didn’t) although she enjoyed talking about it at home quite a bit!

We already had plans to drop off the girls with my parents that night for a sleepover and so Brett and I could have a date night (My parents live in town, about 15 mins from us, and they watch the girls overnight about once a month so Brett and I can go out on a date night and then sleep in the next morning!) so it was perfect timing to share the news! (Again, I know some people wait to tell even family until after their first appointment, but by this point my family all KNEW we had been trying for months so it felt cruel to lie to them and keep from sharing the news when they had all been praying for us for so long!). I dug up Leah’s old “Big Sis” shirt from when we got pregnant with Claire, and stuck it on Claire to wear over to my parents.
claire

As soonย  as my parents opened the front door I all but yelled “did you see her shirt?!” I just couldn’t hold it in any longer!! Obviously they were thrilled and we facetimed with Brett’s parents the next day to share the news as well.

For the next few weeks until my first appointment, we wereย dying to know whether there was one baby in there or two!! I have to say, as much as I would have LOVED twins (seriously, I think that would be so fun) I may have breathed a small sigh of relief when I only saw one baby in that first ultra sound. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I’ll stick to having one baby at a time!

So there you have it! The (long!) story of baby number three!! We are so incredibly thankful that we were able to conceive another child and, although I know I felt like the months were endless, I also know that there are women who struggle for years to conceive, so I know how blessed I am to only need 5 months and 2 rounds of Chlomid. And if anything, having a little “struggle” has just renewed my realization that getting pregnant is a miracle. It is such an amazing, wonderful blessing and I will never, ever take it for granted!

As for how this pregnancy has been compared to the others…(without going into too much detail because man oh man I know this post is long enough already) it’s been rough. And I don’t know if it’s all due to this pregnancy or due to the fact that I have two other kids to run after and care for. haha. But I was very VERY exhausted and nauseous the first trimester and, at 18 weeks, I STILL get nauseous almost every single night after dinner (if baby had it his or her way I just wouldn’t eat after 5 pm EVER). Thankfully my energy levels are rising again and I have been able to get back to the gym and make it through my day without napping. ๐Ÿ˜‰

I’ll do some belly pics and updates soon (maybe 20 weeks?) but we all know that this is baby number three and s(he) will be lucky if I snap a pic of this belly more than 2 times throughout this whole pregnancy!! ๐Ÿ™‚

We have a house!

So…whoops…life’s been a bit busy these past few months and this poor blog has been sadly neglected. But things are finally starting to settle down thanks in big part to the fact that we (finally) found a house!!! We had NO idea how stressful it would be to find a rental here in Asheville. When we first moved (at the beginning of April) we figured that we would stay with my parents for a few weeks while we searched; imaging that we would be in our new home (easily) by May 1st. My parents warned us about the “hot rental market” but we kind of just nodded along thinking “yeah, yeah, how hard could it really be, I mean this is a big city!”

And then we got here. And oh boy, saying that Asheville has a “hot rental market” is an understatement. We quickly learned that there is something crazy like a 1% vacancy rate here in town for rentals (why are all these darn people moving here?! ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) and that we would be competing with a million other people to get a house. (Okay so a million may be a bit exaggerated, but it sure felt like it at times!!) Stalking Zillow and other rental websites became my full time job and I would call/email/text a property as soon as it hit the market. And then Brett and I would go see it and there would be like 10 other people viewing it at the same time; everyone eyeing each other up to see who their biggest competition would be to snatch the house up first. Let’s just say it was EXHAUSTING. Thank God we had my parents (who have been enjoying their time with the grandkids and were not pushing us out in the least) but with 2 kids and a big dog let’s just say that we have seriously taken over their house these past 2 months. Long story short (and seriously, it is a long story) we finally found a house!!

Leah sitting on the front steps on move in day!

We are still settling in (We just moved in Sunday) but we are so, so excited to finally start growing some roots here in our new city.

I am in love with our new bathroom. Also, this is the first time in our married life that Brett and I have a double sink in the master bath, which is thrilling. I’m sure more pics of the house will soon follow, once it isn’t a mess of boxes and furniture…

So, while we searched and waited for a house, I decided to just jump in and potty train Leah. We had put it off for a LONG time, but with so many recent changes (a new baby, and then a big move) I felt weird throwing too much at her at once so we waited and waited some more. But with her 3rd birthday around the corner, I knew she was more than ready! I will write a whole post about it (promise!) hopefully soon, but it’s been an exciting time for her!

I will just say that she has done SO well and we are extremely proud of how she has handled the big change! But more details about our “potty plan” will follow. (I know, I know, you’re all just on the edge of your seats!)

Besides that, Claire turned the big 6 monthsย  (how has it already been half a year?!) And I haven’t done her monthly letter since 4 months. #secondchild. This girl is sweet and chubby and delicious and basically just the world’s cutest baby. A full 6 month update will come soon…

So there you have it. A bit of a life update (have we done more these past 2 months than house hunt and potty train?? I’m not really sure) and a promise to (hopefully) get back in the blogging game soon.

The big move update

So I didn’t intend to go all quiet on the blog this past month or so, but let’s just say that it’s been quite the whirlwind with packing and moving and starting to get acclimated with our new town. But to back it up a little….

Packing a house is no fun. Packing a house with 2 small children…well that’s a form of torture. Although, if you asked Leah, she would tell you that packing and moving is the absolute best because it means you get to watch Frozen at least once a day and all the episodes of Daniel Tiger that you could ever dream of. I guess you could say that we are somewhat strict with “screen time” with Leah. We don’t have an Ipad she plays on, we don’t let her watch much TV (and when she does, it’s only PBS-mainly Sesame Street and Daniel Tiger) and the only movie she can sit through is Frozen….but when you are trying to pack a whole house by yourself, all your rules and cares go out with window. Want to sit on the couch with an entire bag of goldfish and watch Frozen 5 times in a row? Go for it, just let mommy pack.

Even though Brett was getting a moving allowance with his new job, professional movers are EXPENSIVE so we decided to do the move ourselves. We rented the largest Budget truck (and man oh man was this thing huge. Which, side note, I find amusing/troublesome that just anyone can rent this huge truck. Brett drove this gigantic truck, with a car trailer attached to pull one of our cars, which basically made it as long as an 18 wheeler, which people need a special license to drive. But apparently it’s totally fine to rent a truck and trailer the exact same size…) and filled it up. We were so lucky to have help from both our parents. Brett’s parents came down on Wednesday and helped us wrap all the furniture and load the truck. Brett and his dad were amazing. Even though the truck was huge, I was apprehensive that we could fit everything from our house into one truck. But Brett was determined (mostly because he didn’t want to pay for a second truck) and they packed that thing like a puzzle. Every once and awhile they would stop, step back, survey the furniture, and decide what piece would fit into the exact shape spaces they were filling. They did well and we filled that truck to the brim with every last box and piece of furniture we owned. Then my parents flew down from North Carolina, helped us clean the (empty!) house on Thursday, and then drove up with us to North Carolina on Friday morning. My dad and Brett drove together in the truck (with Lucy, their trusty truck dog!) and my mom and I drove up in our SUV with the kids.

I was worried how Leah would do on the long car ride because she has NEVER been in the car for that long, but she did awesome!!! I was way prepared with all her favorite toys and books, plus 3 downloaded movies on our tablet, tons of snacks, and a bag full of wrapped presents I got from the Dollar Store the day before. I gave her about one present every hour and she LOVED it! Who knew Dollar Store baby dolls and coloring books could be so exciting! She did awesome the whole drive and only watched one movie (we tried Finding Nemo for the first time and it was a HUGE hit) because the rest of the time she was totallyย  content playing with all her new toys! (the winning Dollar Store toys were a small plastic baby doll-which she named Pinkalicious, and a small magnadoodle). Claire was an angel baby, beside the few times she decided that she needed to nurse NOW and we were still trying to find a good exit to get off. The chubster is still nursing every 2-2.5 hours and I was trying to push her at least 3 during the ride, which sometimes worked and sometimes didn’t. But stopping every 3 or so hours helped Leah as well because it gave her a chance to stretch her legs and run around a bit.

The drive, however, was pretty awful. It was perfect up until Savannah, but then after that we hit accidents and traffic jams the whole rest of the way. It was a 15.5 hour ride total (when it should have taken 10) and by the time we pulled into my parent’s driveway we were all starting to go a bit crazy. We are staying with my parents for the month or so while we try and find a rental. We went back and forth about whether we wanted to rent or buy right away, but ultimately decided that renting would make more sense so we could feel out the area and neighborhoods and decide where we want to buy next year. So that’s where we are now. Although Leah is having so much fun with grandma and grandpa and their dog Cooper and kitty Reuben that she is in no hurry to leave!

So, in the week we’ve been here we have….

Celebrated Easter:

This was the first year Leah “got” Easter and she had a blast finding her Easter basket in the morning and going on an Easter egg hunt on the gorgeous lawn of the Biltmore Estate after church. I was a little worried how she would do IN church, since she usually attends Sunday School during services, but we sat in the balcony (due to leaving 5 minutes “late” for church-sorry, dad) which was probably a good thing because Leah highly enjoyed sitting up there, gazing down at everyone the entire service while snacking on animal crackers.

Started exploring this awesome new city:

Brett started his job today so all last week we were in vacation mode, walking around downtown and exploring new parks and playgrounds for Leah. Asheville is such an awesome city, with so much to do and explore, so I think we will be kept busy for quite some time! The weather has been gorgeous, low 70’s and sunny, and we are LOVING the break from the South Florida heat and humidity!

A lot, lot, LOT of good eating:

Before we moved Brett read some statistic that, in Asheville, there is one restaurant for every 100 people, or something crazy like that. Let’s just say that there are plenty of amazing restaurants in this city and it’s going to take us a lot of good eating to try them all. ๐Ÿ™‚

And just enjoying some good old relaxing:

After a month of packing and stressing and moving, it feels good to just relax a bit and not have to worry about anything! Yes, we still need to find a rental, but we are totally content mooching staying with my parents for a bit longer while we get acclimated with the city. Plus, we are enjoying this brief time of having very little financial responsibilities. Selling the house has allowed us to pay off the rest of my grad school loans (woohooo!) and it’s a crazy feeling to be 100% debt free. Until we buy a new house, of course. But for now we will relax in our financial freedom. ๐Ÿ˜‰

So, life in Asheville is good and we are slowly settling in! And hopefully I’ll soon be able to share news of finding the perfect new home. ๐Ÿ™‚

Good-bye South Florida…

Before Brett and I got married we were living right outside Washington, D.C. Although we had some great friends in the area, we were looking for a change and Brett suggested moving to South Florida. I was originally pretty iffy about the idea (I think, as Brett laughingly put it last night, I said it was full of “bugs, humidity and old people” which really is all true…) but after getting a job offer at a great Children’s Hospital in South Florida, I warmed up to the idea and we made the move down in March 2011, 4 years ago this month. We LOVED living in Florida; being close to the beach, the perfect “winters,” an excuse to eat ice cream year around, what wasn’t to love?! But then a few years passed and we started a family with our two gorgeous daughters. And suddenly, even though all those perks of South Florida living were still there, some of the cons (such as being so far from family) started to outweigh the good.

About 2 months before Claire was born, Brett received a great job opportunity in North Carolina. But we would have had to sell the house, pack and move, and start a new job all within a week or so of Claire’s birth and it was just way too overwhelming. So we passed on the offer and decided to keep praying and asking God to lead us to where our family should be. However, the potential offer gave us the moving itch so we decided to go ahead and put our house on the market anyways, just to see what happened. We figured we would take our time and wait for the best offer and, should we sell before we had another potential job and/or move lined up, we would just rent for a bit until we figured out what our next step should be. And that’s when things got crazy.

Within a few weeks we received our first offer on the house. It was an okay offer, and although we tried to negotiate the price up a bit, we couldn’t get the buyers to meet us in the middle so we decided to walk away from the offer. Again, we weren’t in any hurry and we thought “Why accept a just okay offer when we could hold out for a potentially better one?!”

The day before my birthday, I resigned from my job, after deciding that being a stay at home mom was what was best for our family at this time. That night Brett and I went out to dinner with the girls and he joked about all the things I had accomplished by the age of 29: grad school, marriage, buying a house, giving birth to 2 kids, a great career, retirement from said great career (haha) and he joked, “Too bad you can’t say you sold your first house by 29 as well!” And then, on the morning of my 29th birthday, we received our second offer on the house. A solid offer that we would have accepted, but hey, why not try to negotiate them up a few thousand dollars to our “dream selling price”?! And low and behold, they accepted.

And then the next day we casually found out that the job opportunity from all those months ago was back on the table. And that the president of the company just so happened to be in Orlando for a convention the same weekend we were going to be there and would love to meet with Brett. And suddenly we were all, “Okay God, we hear you” because we knew there was NO way that this was all just coincidence.

Fast forward another week and Brett officially received an offer for an amazing position based out of Asheville, North Carolina, the same town that my parents live in. The same town I fell in love with the first time I visited over a year ago. We had been praying and praying for God to lead us to where our family was meant to be and we felt like God was basically shouting; “Here it is! I LITERALLY could not make this any clearer!”

So, we decided to listen. The sale on our house is almost complete (it’s been a smooth process through inspection and appraisal and we close in the beginning of April) and we are packing up the house and making the 11 hour trek north to our new home in Asheville, NC (well, we still need to find an actual home, but luckily we can always crash with my parents for a bit while we search!) We are going to really miss South Florida; our first home, our friends, the awesome weather…(although I’ll be honest, I am thrilled to pieces to experience SEASONS again, although I might change my tune after that first winter back in the cold…) but we really feel like this is the BEST decision for our family and I am so excited to raise my girls near family and in such an awesome family friendly area.

You’ve been good to us, South Florida, but now it’s time to move on to our next great adventure…

Leah at 2.5 years

Some of my favorite Leah-isms:

“Psst! Psst! I have a secret to tell you!”
“Want to go play with all my guys!?” (her baby dolls)
“You are being mad to me!” (whenever she is being scolded for something)
“Let me ugga ugga your nose” (Coming from Daniel Tiger, her favorite show)
“I don’t love coffee” (what she tells me EVERY morning as I make myself a large mug)
“You want to talk? Let’s talk about doggies” (At the dinner table every night)
“I think I’m gonna be a little bit sad..” (walks around with her head down, frowning) 2 minutes later….”Okay, I’m happy now!”
“Because why?” (Questioning EVERYTHING we say….)

Other important 2.5 year old mannerisms I want to remember:
~The way she dances “ballet” with over exaggerated arm movements.
~Her complete love and obsession with all things Frozen.
~Her sweetness towards Claire and the way she tells her “Hold on Claire, 2 more minutes!” whenever Claire starts fussing in the car.
~Her insane ability to memorize books which enables her to “read” for hours. (Boy, does this girl LOVE books)
~Her amazing imagination and how she is really starting to create actual story lines and scenarios with her babies and toys.
~The high pitch voice she uses when she makes her dolls (or Claire) talk.

One thing’s for sure, 2 year old’s are the cutest.

Motherhood

When I was young I played a game called “Family” with my younger sister Caitlin. Basically, the game entailed making a list of all your children-names and ages, discussing how many girls vs. boys you want, how many years apart each child would be, how many multiples you want (possibly 2 sets of twins and 1 set of triplets??) etc. This game could last well over an hour, as we intently discussed exactly what our future families were going to look like. And apparently at age 9 I thought it was totally feasible to have 20 children, 10 of which were multiples (twins and triplets fascinated me), but the point of the matter, the fact that I couldn’t imagine my life without being a MOM, has remained true. I feel like I’ve been in serious “mom training” since I was 14. I babysat constantly, worked at day cares, became a full time nanny….all while working on developing my own methods of childcare that I knew would serve me well once I finally became a mom myself. But I also had a second dream, right there along side my dream to be a mom, and that was to become a child life specialist. And I trained just as hard for that dream as well. I studied, I volunteered, I observed, I completed a grad school program, all to obtain this dream job of working with hospitalized children. I knew that these two dreams; to become a mother and a child life specialist, could happen simultaneously, but I also knew that eventually one dream would take over my heart, leaving little room for the other.

After I gave birth to Leah I had been working as a child life specialist for a little over 2 years. I loved what I was doing, and I loved the hospital where I was working. Although holding that baby in my arms made me ache to stay home with her full time, I also didn’t feel as though it was time yet to leave my work as a child life specialist. So, I did the next best thing, I took an extended maternity leave and returned to work after 4 1/2 months, dropping down to part time hours. And it worked for me. Leah thrived at “school” and I continued to fall more in love with my career. But then 2 more years passed and I became pregnant again. And suddenly thoughts of returning to work made me feel sick to my stomach. I still loved my job, but I knew I would soon have 2 sweet little ones at home. And I wanted to be there, nurturing them 24/7, more than I wanted anything else in the world. So Brett and I started having a conversation. Could this work? Would we be okay financially? What would this look like for our family? We went back and forth over many, many details for months. Claire was born and we still hadn’t come to a clear, concise decision. But then one night, as we were lying in bed yet again discussing our options (as my 12 week maternity leave is quickly coming to an end), Brett looked at me and said, “You know what? I think God just wants us to jump.”

So jump we will. I made it official with my boss just earlier this week (which was a crazy story in itself; involving the scheduled conversation happening 30 mins before planned, while I was still in Target, trying to chase Leah through the aisles and frantically checking out, getting home, and realizing that Leah had stolen a ball….) and it’s now official. I will not be returning to work. For now, I am saying good bye to child life and hello to being a stay at home mom. And my heart couldn’t feel happier. I wasn’t sure how I would feel once I resigned; would I feel liberated? Sad? Would I cry? It’s an odd feeling-walking away from this job I have invested my heart into for the past 5 years, and the job I have been dreaming about since I was 14. But you know what? This dream of being a stay at home mom, this dream of being with my girls every day; watching them play and learn and grow, that’s a dream of mine that’s older than any other. Back to childhood and playing “family” with my sister, back to watching my own mom who stayed home to raise her 4 girls and knowing that I wanted to be just like her, a dream that I feel excited and giddy to finally make a reality. And I feel so incredibly blessed that my family is in a position to make this dream possible. I’m so thankful for a loving, supportive husband, who wanted this dream to become a reality just as much as I did. I’ve absolutely LOVED my time as a child life specialist, and I’m not convinced that I am done with that career forever, but for now I am embarking on a new chapter of my life; staying home with my two little ladies. Our family is entering into a new season, full of a LOT of changes, but I am so excited to take this leap and see what comes next.